The electric motorycle grand prix is still in its infancy and thus, like the early days of car racing, if you've got the will and the wheels, you and your buddies can steal the checkered flag from teams with more sponsorship dollars than cojones. Wild and Ewing are trying to do just that, but they need your help.
Wild races vintage motos and fabricates custom bikes, mostly choppers. Ewing is an electrical engineer, a student at Ohio State and an entrepreneur who somehow still has free time. Collectively, they comprise Square Wave Racing. The two have been holed up in a garage in Ohio for three months working out the kinks of their home-built electric race bike, the SWR1 (Square Wave Racing 1).
The SWR1 started life as a 1996 Honda CBR F3. Wild says they chose the bike because it's nimble, but more importantly because it has a steel frame and thus can be cut and welded with ease. The boys pulled the 600cc Honda engine and swapped in a three-phase AC motor and 8-kilowatt-hour lithium-iron phosphate battery. Ewing says that's a huge battery for a motorcycle, (it has twice the kilowatt-hours of the lithium ion batteries in, say, a Zero S motorcycle) but they wanted to make sure they had enough juice to finish the 25-mile race. They're predicting a top speed of over 100 miles per hour. Last year's TTXGP winner at the Isle of Man averaged 87.43 mph. Ewing thinks the bigger battery will give them the speed they need but will also help them handle the rigors of racing:
The grand total for the build so far is around $10,000. Dirt cheap for a sponsored racing team, but pretty pricey for two dudes in a garage. This is where you come in. Most of the grand prix races are within driving distance of Ohio, but the first race of the season is at Infineon Raceway next weekend, May 15th and 16th, and the boys have to fly everything out. They're a little light on cash so they're seeking donations to gather up the $5,000 they need to finance the trip. If you want to contribute or check out the guy's progress, check out their site.The bike is running, in fact they've taken it on a few test rides already. Wild says that because the electric components aren't that much heavier than the engine, they're not taking too much of a performance hit with weight gain. Wild says the handling is a little different because the weight is further forward in the bike, making the SWR1 feel a little top heavy in the turns. He's fabricating a triple clamp to extend the fork and balance the weight rearward a bit.